The prophet said in Joel 3:9, “Wake up the mighty men.” Wake up the mighty women. I’m here to wake up your dreams, wake up your talents, wake up your potential, wake up the healing. You may have let circumstances convince you that it’s never going to happen, but I believe today that the dream is still alive, that promise is still in you. Get ready; you’re about to give birth to something that’s going to thrust you to a new level of your destiny.

Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.'” (Joel 3:9-10)

As I write you today one phrase resounds in my heart. Wake up the mighty men!

Maybe you don’t feel mighty at this moment. But you are, whether you feel like it or not. We all are if we’ve made Jesus the Lord of our lives and the time has come for us to rise up and start acting like it.

Why? Because the devil is taking territory he has no right to occupy. He is hindering the work of God, harming saints and holding entire nations hostage because too few believers are using the divine authority they’ve been given to actively, aggressively resist him.

Some months ago in prayer, I had a vision that has come to mean a great deal to me. I saw the hand of the Lord reaching out to place a scepter in the uplifted hand of a man. Initially, the man received it and, with tears of gratitude and love, thanked the Master for giving it to him. Then, in a spirit of deference and respect, the man put the scepter right back into the Lord’s hand.

It seemed to me the Lord should be pleased with such a submitted heart. The unspoken attitude of the man seemed to be, “Thank you, Lord, for Your gift. But I’m giving it back to You because all I want is for Your will to be done.”

The Lord did not respond with delight, however. On the contrary, in a voice that resounded with displeasure He said, “I CANNOT GIVE THIS TO YOU IF YOU WILL NOT TAKE IT!”    

Not Just Children But Full-Grown Sons
In the months that have passed since then, the Lord has been speaking more to me about the authority of the believer. He has challenged me to more fully use that authority in my own life. And He has revealed to me how much not doing so has cost not only me but those I’ve been called to watch over and pray for.

Most important, God has reminded me that if I do not take dominion over my own flesh and my own circumstances by actively standing on His Word, they will take dominion over me. If I do not fulfill my responsibility to resist the devil—in my own life, the life of my family, my church, my city or my nation—He will not fulfill that responsibility for me. So, unless some other praying saint intercedes for me, the job will not get done.

In that case, the devil will have his way…and he has no mercy.

“But De Edifier,” you might say, “you don’t usually talk like that. You always make us feel warm and fuzzy. You always tell us how much Jesus loves us and how wonderful life is with Him.”

Jesus does love us. More than we can possibly imagine. In fact, He loves us too much to be forever satisfied just hugging us and trotting us on His knees like beloved, spiritual toddlers. He has a life planned for us that is more wonderful than anything we could ever plan ourselves.

However, we must grow up before we can fully live it.

God’s great design is to raise us up and train us to rule with Jesus forever. He has destined us to be not just children of God—but full-grown sons capable of reigning with Him. We were redeemed not just so we could be blessed and enjoy the fellowship of God but so that we, as the Church, could become the overcoming, Co-Regent Bride of Christ who “receives authority and power over the nations…[to] rule them with a scepter” just as Jesus Himself does (Rev. 2:26-27).

How, where and when will we learn how to rule like that?

We will learn it by overcoming the devil and enforcing the will and the Word of God now in our own spheres of influence right here on the earth. If we don’t learn it now, we’ll never learn it. The better we learn it and the more we overcome here, the higher our rank and reward will be in the next dispensation.

Develop Some Spiritual Muscle
That’s not only scriptural, it just makes sense. Think about it. How could God set a believer in authority over a nation in the age to come when he never even took authority over his own flesh in this age? How could God entrust multitudes to the care of someone who never even learned to pray for and keep the devil off his own little family?

He couldn’t! That person would not have developed the spiritual skills necessary to reign and keep evil forces in check.

Some people think, Well, if I don’t learn to reign here…I’ll just learn when I get to heaven. But that logic doesn’t hold up. How could we possibly learn to resist and exert dominion over evil forces in heaven? There aren’t any evil forces there! It takes resistance to develop spiritual muscle, just like it takes resistance to develop physical muscle. And there is no devil, no fallen flesh, nothing negative to resist in heaven.

That is the primary reason for this dispensation. That’s the reason Jesus didn’t throw the devil into the lake of fire and put an end to his works right after the resurrection. He left him here so the Church could use him to do spiritual benchpresses.

God left the devil on earth just like He left the giants in the promised land so He could teach us to exercise the dominion He has given us in Christ. He wants us to grow up into our divinely appointed role as rulers by learning to enforce the will and Word of God in the face of natural and demonic opposition. He wants us to learn how to possess the land.

That’s why, despite God’s great and tender love for us, once we have the time and opportunity to mature in Jesus, He will not deal with the devil for us. Even to spare us natural pain and suffering, He will not jump in and do our job.

He will not say, “Yes, Sweetheart, I know I gave you authority and told you to watch, pray and resist the devil. I know I told you to be strong, put on your spiritual armor and use My Word as the sword of the spirit. But you’ve been real busy lately and if I don’t do something, the devil is really going to tear up your life. I guess I’ll just overturn My plan to train the Church to reign so I can jump in and fix things for you.”